Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Primitive Painting Technique Using Latex Paint

 I feel like my blog has become a DIY place recently.  To be honest I don't mind.  I don't do much exciting in my life other than to craft and do DIY projects since COVID and before actually. LOL.  This tutorial may be a bit premature because I'm not done with my project, but it does explain my process I used on my repurposed cabinet.  So far (knock on wood) I have spent $0 to do this.  

Many moons ago I bought this cabinet with the intention of redoing it.  Let's just say I ended up using it to store my crap on.  It had a bit of an odor to it somewhere between musty and cat pee.  I didn't notice it until I got it home.  Needless to say that's why it sat.  Keep in mind this is made from old plywood that in places was broken and gross.  It is also a mint green color that doesn't necessarily go with my primitive home though I love the chippy crust it has.  

I have to start from the beginning so you can see where we end up. First step was to rebuild the front of the cabinet and put a top on it. It just wasn't my style the way it was.  

 I happened to have a couple pieces of 3/4" plywood in my shed from when I moved into this house. They were covered in fuzzy mold and damp.  I cleaned them with bleach water, but later realized I should have used white vinegar.  Oh well.  I cleaned them then let them dry in the sun and in my garage. Bill said that if I would have had to buy plywood it is quite expensive.  So, yay for me!

I told Bill I wanted to be the one to redo this cabinet, but he insisted on cutting my boards for me since they were going to be long straight cuts.  I don't have a lot of experience with circular saws and I don't think he likes blood, so I let him cut the boards and then pin nail them on.  He kept telling me we needed to use glue AND nails and I disagreed and well, we used only nails. I am loving the way it looks already.

I knew I would be using a paint finish because the shape it was in and being made of plywood the value of the piece was non existent anyway.  I decided to use my favorite Minwax  GEL ( I love me some gel stain) stain Dark Walnut on the new wood so that when I distress it the bright wood wouldn't show through.  Please bare with me as I am working at night with a single LED bulb above me.  I let this dry for a couple hours.  It was still a bit tacky, but I moved on.

In order to make this $0 I am using what paint I have at home. Most of what I have in my arsenal is latex, acrylic, and 1 bottle of chalk paint.  So, I am using outdoor paint, indoor paint, and chalk paint (only because I love this color not because it is chalk)  This process worked great with all of my paints.

Alright.  Now that the 1st layer of stain is dry the first coat of paint went on.  I used a roller and brush to coat the entire piece.  Again the lighting is horrible, but it is a chocolate brown. I used this color on my window shutters last year.  Notice I didn't do the inside because I'm still deciding what I'm going to do.  It may stay as is.

I let this dry overnight because it got late and I'm old.  I need my sleep.  Fast forward to this morning.  This is the most important step in this whole thing.  I spent quite a bit of last night trying to figure out a way to make my latex paint "chip".  Almost every tutorial I found was using milk paint or chalk paint and they chip themselves.  That stuff ain't cheap and I'm cheap.  So, I continued researching.  I kept coming across using wax.  Yes, candle wax.  I watched videos of people using old candles rubbing it on with tons of muscle.  I then saw someone using furniture wax which is a paste consistency.  I used all my furniture wax and I'm not going to buy any.  Then, I came across a lady who used her Scentsy wax tarts.  Well, I have tons of those, not Scentsy, but tarts.  They are just the right size.  The white thing is my wax.  It is a softer soy wax.  I highly recommend using a softer wax.  It even smelled good as I put it on.  MY daughter told me it smelled funny when she came to the basement. LOL.  Btw, you will need a putty knife, sand paper, and an old towel or sock as well.

After your base coat is on take your wax and rub it all over your piece.  It doesn't have to be a heavy coat especially if you use soft wax.  Pay close attention to edges and places where people may have put their hands as this is where the paint would have rubbed off. That film you see is the wax.

Once I covered the piece in wax I painted my next color which was black.  Don't wipe the wax.  Just leave it and paint right over it.  I used a brush for this.  I then let this dry less than an hour.  The sheen was gone and dry to the touch.


This is where the magic happens.  Take your putty knife and run it over the surface of the piece.  Hold it at a 45 degree angle and scrape.  You will start to see the brown or stain underneath depending on how hard you scrape.  You don't need much force if you use the soft wax.

uh oh.  The mint green is showing through.  Oh well, extra character.

It kinda looks good just like this BUT.... I need color. Use a rag, towel, old sock and wipe off all the paint that you scraped off.  You could leave pieces if you want to make the paint look chunky. You could definitely leave it as is with brown and black, but if you want another layer keep reading.

Once you have scraped and you  like the way it looks take your wax and rub it all over the piece again.  Now, yes, I used chalk paint BUT you can see regular paint works.  I absolutely adore this pumpkin color.  It was either pumpkin, red, or cream and I decided I didn't want Farmhouse cream.  I dumped some of my paint from the bottle in to a paint pan, but a paper plate would work just as well.  I initially started with a sponge to put the top coat on.  I threw that to the side quickly and decided to use a brush and I dry brushed the orange on. With dry brushing it is a tiny little bit of paint on your brush.  Don't immerse your brush in the paint.  Then just paint here and there letting your base color show through.  The wax actually helps extend the paint a bit.  I went up and down side to side with paint to get the coverage I wanted.

The chalk paint dried pretty quickly. If you use latex I would let it sit 15 to 20 minutes before you go back to it.  After it has dried go back with your putty knife and start scraping away.  You will be able to scrape clear down to the 1st coat of brown paint. The harder you push the deeper you go.  The lighter the touch the less paint comes off.

Whoopsie! I went a little to deep and mint green is showing.  Oh well.  It just adds to it.

So, as of right now here we are...  I used my sandpaper on the edges to make them smoother and look more worn.  I normally don't like to toot my own horn, but I am in LOVE with this piece.

There will be a sequel to this because now I have to figure out how to seal it so the paint doesn't continue to come off.  I am toying with the idea of a dark stain or polyacrylic.  I need to do a little more research. I am also still debating on the inside of the cabinet.  I just love the stained, dirty, crusty look of it.  I may just add polyacrylic to that so whatever I put on the shelf doesn't have anything rub off on it. So, stay tuned....


Pin It


  1. Great tutorial! It’s really turning out nice. Need to see the finished piece after you decide. And what you are going to display inside!

  2. It’s looks amazing ! Thank you for the tutorial !

  3. You have the right to toot your own horn, Mary - this is gorgeous!!! And I do love the lighter, worn, interior.... I seriously doubt I would ever have the patience for all this, but who knows....I have a bench at the lake house that I am thinking of tackling...some how, sometime LOL. ~Robin~

  4. Great job! I've painted and then used a heat gun to bubble and crinkle paint and scrape off other spots. Your transformation is fabulous.

  5. Great tutorial.Great job!It’s looks amazing ! Thank you for the tutorial
    clipping path

  6. Where did you go??? Your blog is fantastic, hope you are ok and that you come back soon!?

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. I love this piece too! Just finding your blog. I'd love to see the final results! Jan in MA


Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate each and everyone of you. Please feel free to comment here or email me.